Boston’s Defeater has thrown together what amounts to two different releases to comprise Empty Days & Sleepless Nights. The “Empty Days” part is the hardcore, screamy album of ten songs. The “Sleepless Nights” portion is five songs of acoustic guitar, singing, and even some slide guitar. It’s a striking turn for the normally fast-paced five-piece. And in some ways I like the acoustic tunes better than the hardcore ones. While there is some good melody and passion with the Empty Days tunes, they don’t strike me as bringing much new to the table. And perhaps the Sleepless Nights tracks don’t add much new to the scene either, but they are really heartfelt and stand in such complete contrast to Defeater’s other material. It displays Defeater’s breadth and talent, which is always nice to see in a hardcore band, especially on a label (Bridge Nine) that has been known (at least until lately) for offering so much cookie cutter youth crew music. Defeater may have a semblance of that youth crew sound but they are much more diverse than that. It’s reassuring to see a hardcore band exploring their talents and still performing it all capably.
–kurt (Bridge Nine)